Best iOS J-E Dictionary App


#1

I have been using a dictionary app called “Japanese” for almost 2 years now, but as I learn more Japanese, I have found some mistakes in the app, poor example sentences and general bugs.  I used to love the app…now I’m shopping for  a new one.  

So does anybody have a favorite Japanese-English dictionary app?  Why do you love it?


#2

can’t talk for iOS, but on Android i love Kabuto. It’s not only a dictionary, it also has a kanji-by-radical search which makes looking up unknown kanji really comfrotable. And it’s entirely offline, you just download all the data once and keep using it.
Maybe it’s also available on iOS, you’d need to check. Btw: It’s free on Android.


#4

Something to keep in mind: most dictionaries just use the EDICT files (I think ‘Japanese’, Imiwa and Midori do, too), so the entries in them are exactly (well, for the most part at least, I didn’t check every entry myself) the same. If you don’t want EDICT, you probably also don’t want 80% of the other apps. The example sentences usually come from the Tatoeba project, which incorporates the Tanaka corpus.
There are some apps that don’t use EDICT/Tatoeba, though. I just found this for example: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/id586803362?mt=8

Personally, I use Imiwa and Daijirin. I know EDICT has it’s weaknesses, but I don’t mind them that much, and if I’m unsure I can just check the Japanese description of the word.


#5

Japanese, Imiwa, and Midori all use the same database, so they will all have the same issues. (though Midori has a great name kanji lookup which I have found really useful). I wouldn’t be surprised if Kabuto were based on the same database as well.

The problem with all of these dictionaries is that most of them are based on the same dictionary files. wwwJDIC is a free database/dictionary that most apps base their dictionaries on. The BIGGEST problem with this is that it is only Japanese -> English and not the other way around. What I mean by this is that all of the entries are Japanese words, and if you search for English, you’re actually searching the definitions of the Japanese words. This is great if you’re trying to translate manga/anime, but is not helpful if you’re looking for just the right word in Japanese. Try looking for the correct word for “to move” as in to move house, it’s practically impossible to find as it shows up as the 25th entry on Japanese, with other more obscure ones before it (it’s ひっこす by the way). They also pull from the same database of sentence examples which is also provided for free online. This is how they can provide these apps for free, someone else did the work for them, and the app developers just built the interface.

If you want a more advanced dictionary, you’ll want to look for something such as Sanseido’s Wisdom dictionary (~$30 right now) it’s an app version of an actual published dictionary. It includes J->E and E-J. This dictionary is intended for Japanese people learning English, so it won’t hold your hand with kanji readings (there is a “jump” function when you tap on kanji so you can get their readings), but it’s much more accurate and comprehensive, as it’s from an actual dictionary company instead of a free online database. This is also the reason it’s more expensive. In Japan you’d pay about ¥3000-4500 per volume (E-J and J-E dictionaries are sold separately in Japan) so the app is actually cheaper than the dictionaries it’s based on. Unfortunately since it’s designed for Japanese people, the example sentences are English sentences.

Pretty much, there is no great E->J dictionary on the app store. I wish oxford would publish theirs like they have with some other languages, but alas they haven’t. Your best bet if you’ve outgrown Japanese/Imiwa/Midori is to go out and get a real denshijisho or a paper dictionary.


#6

I love Midori


#7

I just noticed that iOS 7 has a J->E, E->J dictionary built in. Just do a long tap on a word (English or Japanese), select “definition” and a popup will appear, with the dictionary definition. 
You need to configure it the first time: the popup has a “Manage” button. Click on it, select the Japanese-English dictionary and click the “download” icon (the cloud). After doing that, you’re ready to go! It seems a good quality dictionary too. 


#8

Awesome! It’s the wisdom dictionary I mentioned above! It also happens to be built into the dictionary program in Mac OS too.

Sweet find Kirby!


#9

Midori is by far the best one


#10
Kirby said... I just noticed that iOS 7 has a J->E, E->J dictionary built in. Just do a long tap on a word (English or Japanese), select "definition" and a popup will appear, with the dictionary definition. 
You need to configure it the first time: the popup has a "Manage" button. Click on it, select the Japanese-English dictionary and click the "download" icon (the cloud). After doing that, you're ready to go! It seems a good quality dictionary too. 
 It has been there for a long time, so you can even use it if you can't/won't upgrade to iOS 7.

#11

Midori is fantastic! Just read these comments though…so maybe it won’t suit you.

The kanji look up is great. Not very forgiving with stroke order though lol



#12

For free: imiwa

Hands down the best app. 
https://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/imiwa-japanese-dictionary/id288499125?mt=8

It doesn’t have as many entries as Midori, but then again, it’s free. If you don’t mind paying, go for Midori.


#13
jakobd said...
Kirby said... I just noticed that iOS 7 has a J->E, E->J dictionary built in. Just do a long tap on a word (English or Japanese), select "definition" and a popup will appear, with the dictionary definition. 
You need to configure it the first time: the popup has a "Manage" button. Click on it, select the Japanese-English dictionary and click the "download" icon (the cloud). After doing that, you're ready to go! It seems a good quality dictionary too. 
 It has been there for a long time, so you can even use it if you can't/won't upgrade to iOS 7.
 There has been a dictionary in iOS since iOS 5, but until now, you didn't have any choice as to which dictionary you used, also, I could never figure out how to make a J-E dictionary work, it was only J-J for me. I've heard reports that other people had J-E somehow, but I could never get that working. Being able to select the dictionaries you want to use in iOS 7 makes things MUCH easier!

#14
Mooshoepork said... Midori is fantastic! Just read these comments though...so maybe it won't suit you.

The kanji look up is great. Not very forgiving with stroke order though lol
 Try out the kanji lookup from Daijirin, it's so much better than Midori. (Of course only for the correct stroke order.)

Mordoc said...
[...]
 There has been a dictionary in iOS since iOS 5, but until now, you didn't have any choice as to which dictionary you used, also, I could never figure out how to make a J-E dictionary work, it was only J-J for me. I've heard reports that other people had J-E somehow, but I could never get that working. Being able to select the dictionaries you want to use in iOS 7 makes things MUCH easier!
 Oh yeah I always used the J-J one.

#15

But if you’re just looking for an actual dictionary, and don’t need to look up kanji that you don’t know the readings of, then go with Imiwa? 
It uses the same dictionary as Midori. Almost all apps use the same dictionaries, so it doesn’t really matter. They all have the same quantity.


#16

Imiwa for sure.